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To stop helping business enquiries so much?

(8 Posts)
LuckyLopez Sat 20-Jun-15 09:27:55

It's getting out of hand!

I'm a childminder and very often get email or telephone enquiries for childcare. I don't have spaces at the moment and the reply is often 'thanks for letting me know, can you give me details of anyone else in X town with spaces?' I will then pass on numbers and emails if I think of anyone but it doesn't stop there, they chase me up when the other cm doesn't reply or can't help, wanting more numbers of cms.

Sometimes I will tell them a great place to look is our family information service or childcare websites but then they ask for a link or 'do you know of any free websites I can check?'.

Most enquiries turn in to 4/5 exchanges back and forth. Not really a good use of my time when it's not even potential work for me. I try to be nice and helpful because I know reputation counts for a lot in this business but I really just want to reply, 'FFS do your own research!'

Any ideas how to politely end this vicious circle of me helping too much? Or am I right to keep hand holding them?

MrsHathaway Sat 20-Jun-15 09:30:46

Not your job.

"I'm sorry, I think everyone I know is booked up at the moment."

In our area the remaining children's centres and the HV teams have access to lists of childcare providers. If pushed you could pass the buck in that direction.

RepeatAdNauseum Sat 20-Jun-15 09:32:59

Stop being Google. Of course they'll come back to you if you do all the work for them.

Apologise, say you can't recommend anyone specifically but you'd recommend they visit X website or speak to the children's centre or HV for access to the latest lists. Wish them luck, and end of conversation.

LazyLouLou Sat 20-Jun-15 09:34:36

But... you have spotted a gap in the market... instead of moaning about it, exploit it, make money out of it.

Or just do as pp have said.

tinkerbellvspredator Sat 20-Jun-15 09:35:50

"sorry I'm all booked up etc. Here are the links for a good free website and the local FIS who can advise you who has spaces at the moment". Cut and paste for every enquiry, then ignore any follow up emails.

TendonQueen Sat 20-Jun-15 09:36:59

You need a line for dealing with this, and no, you shouldn't have to help them out over and over. Other CMs may have their own script, but I would go for something like 'You'll understand of course that I can't endorse anyone else's business, and I don't know who has spaces free at any point, so I would recommend looking on X website and taking it from there'. If they persist, repeat 'as I said, I can't make recommendations..'

If they're ringing you back repeatedly, I think you're actually being too nice - it's not your job to find them an alternative if you're full! - and need to be firmer.

LuckyLopez Sat 20-Jun-15 10:11:25

Ok good to know. I will see if I can compile a bog standard reply to copy and paste.

LazyLouLou Sat 20-Jun-15 12:52:49

Or a website that local CMs etc could advertise on....

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